Next up…New York City

Lincoln Center
Outside the Lincoln Center

Two weeks out until my next trip….New York City. I have been there several times before, so this time I’m looking to go a little more in-depth and try some new things. My husband attends a conference there every year and most times I come along for the free ride, well almost free anyhow.
While he sits in meetings all day, here is what I have on the agenda:
City Pass— There are several city passes: New York Pass, New York City Pass, and New York City Explorer Pass. And each one is just a little different in how it works and what it covers. I made a list of the things I’d like to see and how much each costs separately. I added it up to see which pass fits best and if the price is worth it. I went with the NYC Explorer Pass this time. For $80 I can choose 3 tours or attractions from a list of 50 and I will have 9 days to use it. My wish list for this trip is NBC studios (I did this about 15 years ago, so it’s worth a repeat), the Natural History Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum including The Cloisters. I really wanted to go to Ellis Island (again), but it is still closed due to the hurricane damage.
Gourmet Food Truck Walking Tour– $48– I signed up for the tour that starts in the Financial District. We will visit and eat at 6 different food trucks around Manhattan.
Food— Here is the most fun of all: researching restaurants. We have our favorites, so that makes it hard to break away for something new. My husband insists on Nobu Next Door, and maybe Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. He also has a recommendation for a restaurant called Frankies Spuntino. Last time we were here it was NYC Restaurant Week, and, what do you know, we will be there during Restaurant Week again! This is great… 275 restaurants participate in offering a $25 lunch or $38 dinner, which is 3-course prix-fixe menu. Actually, this is how we had come to find our favorites from the last visit.
Broadway show—This one is still a ? (thinking about it).
That’s the line-up. I will be back later for a full report on how it goes.

Alaska Cruise…notes exposed

I started out writing this in my usual day by day format and found it to be just too boring. Almost everything on this trip has gone as planned and what more is there to cruising than excursions and eating. I did experience/learn a few new things this time and here are some of the highlights—
Vancouver—In addition to doing a full day excursion to Victoria and Butchart Gardens, we did spend a morning walking about Granville Island. From our hotel downtown (Westin Grand) it is about a 15 minute walk to the Yaletown pier. There are several water taxi’s (Aqua Bus) going to different piers and Granville Island. This area is a farmers market/flea market type place selling fruit, vegetables, seafood, etc. There are lots of handicrafts and art galleries.
• Second night on ship I do believe I witnessed the best sunset of my life and I am not usually one to ooh and ahh over sunsets. I also enjoyed having daylight until 11pm, more time to watch the whales from my balcony.
• Celebrity Millennium, as most ships do has a pretty good offering of daily activities. Many that I regret not getting around too. I-phone/I-pad orientation, Zumba, a variety of wine/martini/port tastings. There are watercolor classes, scrapbooking, and most days a talk from the naturalist.
• Something I learned this cruise for the next time I cruise… Our cabin happened to be a couple decks directly below the gym and the pool. Easy access and you don’t have to slog around half the ship in a wet swim suit.
Internet/Wifi on board is very expensive, when docking in a port ask the crew where to find internet cafes and libraries, they know these things. For this particular cruise, Juneau has a library about 1 block from the ship, and in Skagway the library is on 8th and State, just off of the main drag.
• And here is a great tip I discovered if you are taking the round trip White Pass Railroad excursion– Going up the mountain left side is good because you have the best views, but everyone from the right side will be hovering over you trying to see out. And of course- the little balconies on the back and front of the train car are packed, everyone with a camera is trying to get pictures. Here’s the deal, when you get to the top of the mountain the train comes back down and the crew makes everyone change seats with the other side of the car. My advice is to ride up on the right side and then at the top you move to the other side. You will have the window to yourself and the balconies because everyone has already gotten their pictures on the way up.